Coeuraj is a multidisciplinary transformation practice that helps people and organizations change by finding solutions within themselves. The group uses tools rooted in the complexity of human interaction, including collaborative design, data science, and strategic planning. Pentagram has designed a new brand identity and website for Coeuraj that helps visualize what the practice does with a graphic language built around a system of lines and brackets.
Pentagram collaborated closely on the project with the leadership at Coeuraj, including CEO and co-founder Tyl van Toorn. The identity coincides with a new name for the company, formerly known as Watershed Partners, and an expansion from Canada into the US. Like the new name, the branding is designed to help the firm stand out and distinguish its specialized focus. Coeuraj helps structure relationships and facilitate decision-making processes within large organizations, agencies and groups, with the goal of building a more inclusive, collaborative and sustainable world. The challenge for the designers was creating a visual identity that conveyed this.
“As an organization we’re selling a fairly ambiguous offering, which is the capacity for an organization to transform itself, and creating an ability for them to design their own processes to do that,” says van Toorn. “It is hard for us to describe what we are, and we needed to find a way to help people understand that this is going to be a process.”
The identity centers on a “C” logo with slightly rounded corners that suggests a bracket or a speech or thought bubble. The logo is at the core of a flexible visual language constructed of brackets and rules, in thin and thick weights, inspired by organizational charts and networks. By combining the elements and typography, a variety of infographics can be created. The color palette is black and white, with accents of red.
The designers developed guidelines for the system, which has its own interior logic; for instance, a bracket or image must always be connected to a line. The networks illustrate openness and connection, important to the firm’s philosophy. The graphics also nod to the intricate visionary charts and diagrams of Futurism and Dada, reinforcing the idea of Coeuraj as engineers of change.
The wordmark and primary typography are set in Studio Feixen Sans Bold, with occasional eccentric characters––like the “R” in the logotype––set in the alternate alphabet of Studio Feixen Sans Edgy. (For legibility, only one Edgy character is permitted per word.) Supporting typography is set in Studio Feixen Sans and Studio Feixen Serif. The logo also serves as the basis for a brand architecture for the sub-brands Coeuraj Capital, Coeuraj Management and Coeuraj Technology.
“The visual language reflects our design processes and methodologies, and helps people prepare themselves for the journey ahead,” says van Toorn. “We do things in a very specifically designed way that is tangible, not just ideas. There’s variability and flexibility in the identity, but there’s also certainty that shows this is a design process––it has form, it has structure, it is a platform.”